Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 8/14/12

AFC EAST

Patriots-Really a no-brainer here. The Patriots defense may be lacking at times, but their offense is just too potent, especially with the addition of Brandon Lloyd.

Even though their pre-season game ended 7-6 over the Saints, everyone knows they are holding everything back. Josh McDaniels is back coaching Tom Brady. McDaniels was the offensive coordinator when Brady threw for 50 touchdowns in 2007-2008.

The Dolphins are rebuilding, the Jets have close to zero offense, and the Bills have close to zero defense (although they are trying to turn the corner). In  Welker, Gronk, Hernandez, and Lloyd we trust.

AFC NORTH

Ravens-Another tight division race with the Steelers this year. The Ravens are my pick because no other team did anything to dethrone them.

The Steelers are having issues with Mike Wallace and they have a hole at running back with Rashard Mendenhall out with an ACL tear. The Bengals were a surprise team last year. They added the law firm, BenJarvus Green-Elllis, but lost Cedric Benson, essentially a wash; that won't be enough to take over the division. And, the Browns are in yet another rebuilding year.

I am not a Flacco fan, but I think Ray Rice will carry that team and the defense has one last run in them.

AFC SOUTH

Texans-The Texans could be a team that challenge the Pats for the AFC championship.

If Andre Johnson can stay healthy, this team is set. A top 3 defense last season. People are saying they lost Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans. Williams missed the season after the Steelers game early in the year and Ryans is just not a 3-4 linebacker (65 tackles last year.)

The Titans made a run last year, even with CJ2K's miserable season. If they start off slow though, fans could be calling for young gun Jake Locker to step in. The Colts will easily improve from last year, but they are not going to challenge Houston. And the Jaguars are youthful, that is about it.

AFC WEST

Broncos- The sheriff is back in town. if Tim Tebow won the division, Peyton can, too. Although that team last year was the biggest fluke of all time (check my other article) they still came together as a team and pulled through tough games.

Eric Decker will be an effective slot and Demariyus Thomas will bloom on the outside. Also, Jacob Tamme , ex-Colt, followed him there.

The Chargers lost a lot with Mike Tolbert leavng and Vincent Jackson. Ryan Mathews hasn't been able to stay healthy either. Kansas City will have a top flight defense, but I dont see Matt Cassell having a better season than Peyton, and Jammal Charles is coming off an injury. The Raiders were competitive last year. Their run defense was awful and their quarterrback play was awful. Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Terrell Pryor? If you have these three quaterbacks, you have no quaterbacks.



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